“Monday Mystery” – THE BALI MYSTERY (Amelia Moore Detective Series)

Bali web

Linda Weaver Clarke describes her book’s genre as a “cozy mystery,” or, in her words:

“A G-rated story with no swearing or sex. It has many twists and turns and must have very likeable characters so that it can be turned into a series. A cozy mystery focuses on the plot and characters, and the main character is usually an intelligent woman.”

With that understood, let’s take a look at her latest:

Synopsis

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her business is flourishing.

When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.

Excerpt

Amelia narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips as she watched the hefty man walk out of her office. She was upset. He had demanded she drop her new case or she would be sorry. Yes, he had threatened her if she continued her search, but he did not know that his threat only encouraged her.

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, was in her thirties and had a positive outlook on life. She had short honey brown hair that framed her face and complemented her hazel eyes. Amelia was confident, stubborn, and spunky. She took her job seriously and enjoyed her work. She always chose cases that made a positive difference in people’s lives. This assignment, however, was unusual.

Author

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the author of several historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, a new cozy mystery series, and two non-fiction books.

Linda Weaver ClarkeYou can purchase THE BALI MYSTERY or any of her other books from her website.

Originally posted 2014-04-21 06:00:11.

“Monday Mystery” – KILMOON (A County Clare Mystery)

I’m very excited to announce Lisa Alber’s debut novel, KILMOON, which takes place in her ancestral homeland, Ireland. Lisa and I met when we were assigned to the same group at the Maui Writer’s Retreat several years ago, and I knew this day would come for her. She’s very talented, as I’m sure you’ll agree once you read her book.

kilmoon_72dpi

Synopsis

Californian Merrit Chase travels to Ireland to meet her father, a celebrated matchmaker, in hopes that she can mend her troubled past. Instead, her arrival triggers a rising tide of violence, and Merrit finds herself both suspect and victim, accomplice and pawn, in a manipulative game that began thirty years previously. When she discovers that the matchmaker’s treacherous past is at the heart of the chaos, she must decide how far she will go to save him from himself—and to get what she wants, a family.

Lisa Alber evokes a world in which ancient tradition collides with modern village life and ageless motivators such as greed and love still wield their power. Kilmoon captures the moodiness of the Irish landscape in a mystery that explores family secrets, betrayal, and vengeance.

Reviews

Brooding, gothic overtones haunt Lisa Alber’s polished, atmospheric debut. Romance, mysticism, and the verdant Irish countryside all contribute to making KILMOON a marvelous, suspenseful read. —Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Through the Evil Days

This first in Alber’s new County Clare Mystery series is utterly poetic … The author’s prose and lush descriptions of the Irish countryside nicely complement this dark, broody and very intricate mystery.  —RT Book Reviews (four stars)

In her moody debut, Alber skillfully uses many shades of gray to draw complex characters who discover how cruel love can be. —Kirkus Reviews

Excerpt

A squeal, or perhaps a moan, issued from Lonnie’s office. Merrit froze. A moment later the rat-a-tatting of computer keys ceased and oaths in Ivan’s native Russian took over. Merrit smiled. The minion up to no good in the boss’s office. Now he’d see how much he liked having his personal life threatened with exposure. 

On tiptoes, she stepped past computers and around the service counter behind which Ivan usually sat. Thankfully, the window blinds were drawn. No one could see her as she stepped toward one of two doorways marked “For Employees Only,” only to freeze again, this time in the office doorway with the cat pressed against her chest. She knew death when she saw it. There was no mistaking its particular brand of stillness. Death had sucked the energy out of Lonnie’s body, leaving it as bereft of life as a hologram.

Author

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Lisa Alber received an Elizabeth George Foundation writing grant based on Kilmoon. Ever distractable, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Lisa lives in Portland, Oregon. Kilmoon is her first novel.

You’ll learn a lot more about Lisa when I interview her later in May. I promise.

Meanwhile, you can find Lisa at: website | Facebook | Twitter

You can order KILMOON through: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

 

Originally posted 2014-03-31 06:00:31.

“Monday Mystery” – TO SLEEP NO MORE

Dalton&Dalton_ARERonda Hinrichsen has a new novella out (under the pseudonym Kathleen Marks) entitled TO SLEEP NO MORE. If you look at the subtitle, you’ll note the term “preternatural mystery.” I recently interviewed Ronda and she briefly discussed that term, so if you’re puzzled, click here. But enough splitting terms. Here’s a quick glimpse of TO SLEEP NO MORE:

Synopsis

Preternatural scientist Alexandra Dalton is near Yellowstone National Park, searching for preternatural mushrooms she hopes will help her find who kidnapped and murdered her young daughter, when she receives a telegram from her uncle’s lawyer. Her beloved uncle is dead, it says, and she must return to Massachusetts ASAP. There, she is thrown together with her estranged husband, Richard Dalton, to unravel two mysterious “Night Hag” murders.

Excerpt

Alex pinched her cheeks to give them a hint of color and opened the door.

Her smile disappeared. Worse, her breath, her thoughts, and her pulse stopped. She stared into a man’s hazel eyes the color of a stormy Atlantic sea surrounded by long, thick lashes lightly tipped with the same color as his blonde, wavy hair. The man was tall, straight, and had well-defined muscles. He was a man to be reckoned with—Richard Edward Dalton, her estranged husband.

“Hello, Alex,” he said.

Alex clenched the door handle. What is he doing here? “Rick.”

He quirked a tentative smile. “Can I come in?”

“Why?”

“I’ve been invited.”

Author

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Kathleen Marks is a pen name for Ronda Hinrichsen, author of romantic suspense and speculative novels as well as the Heroes of the Highest Order chapter book series. She loves history and frequently travels throughout the world with her husband in search of intriguing settings, characters, and stories.

TO SLEEP NO MORE is available on Amazon and CreateSpace. You can also learn a bit more about the story and series on Ronda’s website AND read all of Chapter One.

Originally posted 2014-03-24 06:00:51.

“Monday Mystery” – A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

A Banner for Blog TourAs part of Marlene’s blog tour, I’m featuring her new Erica Coleman mystery here today. It’s available for purchase online at Amazon, Deseret Book, and Seagull Book, as well as in  LDS bookstores, including Deseret Book and Seagull Book.

Here’s a quick look:

Synopsis

Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.

A Cover for A Death in the Family

In A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, the second in the Erica Coleman series, private eye Erica Coleman and her family happily anticipate Grandma Blanche’s eighty-first birthday celebration in the picturesque town of Florence, Oregon. But when the feisty matriarch, a savvy businesswoman, suspects wrongdoing and asks Erica to investigate her company, things get sticky.

Before the investigation can even begin, Blanche’s unexpected death leaves Erica with more questions than answers—and it is soon clear Grandma’s passing was anything but natural: she was murdered. When another relative becomes the next victim of someone with a taste for homicide, Erica uses her flair for cooking to butter up local law enforcement and gather clues.

Erica’s OCD either helps or hinders her—depending on who you talk to—but it’s those same obsessive and compulsive traits than enable Erica to see clues that others miss. When she narrowly escapes becoming the third victim, Erica is more determined than ever to solve the case.

Excerpt

“It’s hard to believe she’s gone,” Kristen said dolefully. “When I moved here, I thought I’d have years with Grandma. She was always so active—I thought she’d keep going for years.”

“And all the time, her heart was getting weaker,” Trent said glumly.

Walter commented, “The last time I saw her, Blanche said the doctor told her she had the constitution of a mule.”

There were a few smiles at this, but Martha’s brow furrowed in confusion. “But Mom’s death didn’t have anything to do with how healthy she was.”

“What are you talking about?” Trent’s impatient voice billowed out and filled the small room.

Martha squirmed but fluttered on, “Well, after what Mom said when she came to visit me, you know—about how something wrong was going on in the company—I worried that something might happen.”

Her response reverberated around the room. Everyone went very still—as if they were holding their breath. 

Martha’s eyes went from one to another. “I didn’t mean—oh, I shouldn’t have said anything,” she stammered. Her voice was pure distress. “It’s just that . . . well, we’re all family here, so it’s okay, isn’t it? I mean, no one else knows.”

“No one else knows what?” Trent said brusquely.

Visibly flustered, Martha’s hands twisted in her lap. “And . . . and Mother was very old and—and the police haven’t even come, have they?”

Erica wondered what Martha could be getting at. Everyone darted quizzical looks at each other, trying to make sense out of Martha’s confused chirruping.

After meeting blank looks all around, Martha blurted, “I mean, that’s good . . . isn’t it? For the family?”

The room remained deadly silent as Martha’s cheeks flamed red.

There was a rumble as Walter cleared his throat. “Why would the police come?”

“Why, to arrest someone.” Martha sounded surprised—as if he had asked something that was completely and absolutely self-evident. She stared at Walter, as if he and he alone could straighten everything out. “Isn’t that why they’re doing an autopsy? I mean, don’t they always do an autopsy when someone has been murdered?” 

Author

A picture of Marlene Bateman

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children.

Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.  Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, and Heroes of Faith.  Her latest book is Gaze Into Heaven; Near Death Experiences in Early Church History, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences from the lives of early latter-day Saints.

Marlene’s first novel was the best-selling Light on Fire Island. Her next novel was Motive for Murder, which is the first in a mystery series that features the quirky private eye with OCD, Erica Coleman.

A Cover for Motive for Murder You can learn more about what Marlene is up to as an author from her website.

Originally posted 2014-03-17 08:11:21.

“Saturday Suspense” – THE DARK EAGLES: WELLS IN DESOLATION

Wells in Desolation Book Cover

David R. Smith’s sequel, THE DARK EAGLES – WELLS IN DESOLATION, is now out and available on Amazon in hardback or Kindle version. Here’s a quick look:

Synopsis

With his faithful friends and mystical stone, Kief sets out on his greatest adventure yet, to seek passage across the dangerous seas in search of the dreaded Wells in Desolation. But there is more to fear than enemy soldiers and the pillaging rogues of the sea as others seek the power of the stone.

Kief encounters new friends that help him along his journey and reveal secrets about his past and destiny. But one truth threatens to doom the fate of The Dark Eagles…

Excerpt

The wind howled, the long pine branches bending and pitching in the darkness. The streets were empty save the dancing shadows from the flickering lampposts.

“Who is that?” Tarc whispered above the whistling wind.

“I have no idea,” Kief replied, taking cover behind the tree.

The figure mounted a black horse; the great animal dressed on its head and chest with tarnished steel plates of armor that cast dull reflections in the lamplight. On the horse’s bridle were long decorative tassels; behind him he carried heavy saddlebags, as if he’d journeyed from afar. Swift as the winds that blew, the mysterious stranger galloped past Kief and Tarc…

Author

David was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and spent most of his childhood on a farm in Heber City, located in the Wasatch Mountains. He loved exploring the mountains on his horse looking for adventures to follow. Growing up, he wanted to be a movie director and used his own Super 8 camera to make silent movies with his friends and brothers and sister. Instead, he earned a Bachelors in Engineering at the University of Utah. While there, he met the love of his life, Jenelle, and they were blessed with three amazing sons: Josh, Tate, and Porter.

David later earned his Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University and pursued a path in the corporate world. But his creative side continued to tug at him for years until finally, through the encouragement of his wife and boys, he realized that it’s never too late to follow your dream. So David set off to write an epic adventure of a boy and his horse and created a story of freedom, adventure, love, courage and sacrifice. When he’s not writing, David enjoys outdoor activities with his family, and especially loves surfing with his three boys in Southern California where he resides.

David Smith Ocean PhotoYou can learn more about David and his writing by checking out his website. And if you’re interested in the first book in the series, THE DARK EAGLES – FIRST FLIGHT, read my interview with the author or click here.

Originally posted 2014-03-08 06:00:40.

“Monday Mystery” – ADRENALINE RUSH and GRAVEDIGGERS

Today I have a double dose of mystery to announce–two thrillers from the same author, Cindy M. Hogan. Let’s have a look at ADRENALINE RUSH first.

Adrenaline RushSynopsis

A madman with a mission is kidnapping groups of thrill-seeking high school seniors across the country, and it’s up to Christy to stop him.

To do so, she must take on a fearless alter ego and infiltrate a group of adrenaline junkies bent on pushing life to the limit. Death-defying stunts are only the beginning: two groups fit the profile, and Christy must discover the real target before it s too late.

If she chooses the wrong group, more people will disappear. But choosing right puts her as the prime target with no guarantee that she’ll get out alive.

Excerpt

     As I hurtled toward my destination at 500 miles an hour, I pulled out a notebook, placed it on the shiny mahogany table in front of me, and scribbled a quick to-do list. Pick out an outfit. Get folders and notebooks. Switch into fourth period drama. I chewed on the end of my pen. Oh yeah–just one more thing. Get kidnapped.

     According to my pre-mission briefing, kidnappings were up in the States by five percent over the last five years. The significance of which didn’t hit me until I found that the statistics for kidnappings had remained static for a good thirty years. The spike caught the attention of the FBI, and they put their best men on it. The problem? Right when they thought they’d discovered the pattern of the kidnappers, it seemed to change.

     We hit some turbulence, and the force of it pulled me out of my reverie. I sucked in a deep breath, my hands resting on the soft leather side arms of my big comfortable seat as the Gulfstream jet jumped. I let the rollercoaster feeling wash over me like a wave, forcing myself to enjoy every last tingle. I only had this flight and a few hours tonight to assume my new thrill-seeking alias–the one that would lure the kidnappers and save the day before the pattern changed again. I might as well make the most of it.

Reviews

Thrilling, heart pounding, an Adrenaline Rush indeed!” (Konstanz Silverbow, Author of Only Half Alive)

“Jeremy and Christy have a chemistry akin to a younger version of Alias’ Vaughn and Sydney Bristo.” (S.M. Anderson, author of Copied)

“Hunger Games move over – Adrenaline Rush has arrived.” (D.K. Holbrook, reviewer)

ADRENALINE RUSH is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.

 

And now for her second release, GRAVEDIGGERS.

GravediggersSynopsis

Seventeen-year-old Billy thinks his father’s murder will never be solved until he stumbles across an old ammo box while digging a grave in his small-town Tennessee cemetery.

What he finds leads him to question everything he knows, and his search for answers will uncover more than he bargained for: lies, secrets, and conspiracies, and behind them all, a dangerous truth.

 

Excerpt

Why did people have to die in June when it was so dang hot? I jumped on the top edge of my shovel, forcing it into the ground, the metal pressing into the soles of my feet through the holes in the bottoms of my shoes. The muggy late afternoon air sent sweat dripping into my eyes. I wiped my sleeve across my face.

Henry, my best friend since forever, and I had dug three graves in just over two weeks. The average for the Halls, Tennessee cemetery was only one grave a month for the six years we’d been working there. It was hard to believe it would be my last year of digging graves, but I was totally excited about going away to college. Even though I hated sweating to death and would rather be playing baseball, I was stoked about the one hundred bucks I’d earn. I’d finally have a few extra dollars to buy new shoes. I’d seen an awesome looking pair of Nikes at the thrift store just the other day. They had probably belonged to Mikey, Mayor Clement’s youngest son. I didn’t want to have to wear his cast-offs, but I needed every penny for college. Mikey tended to wear something only a few times before tossing it aside anyway. No such luck for me. Use ’em up and wear ’em out was our family’s adage.

 

Reviews

“A thrilling mystery with spine-tingling hints and bone-chilling secrets. Hogan has a knack for creating killer scenes that make her books irresistible. Don’t miss this one!” (Rachelle J. Christensen, Author of Wrong Number and Caller ID)

“Mystery, adventure, danger, and a touch of romance fill the pages of Gravediggers.” (Angela Woiwode, reviewer)

“Friendships are tested to the limit and secrets and lies are uncovered in this unpredictable mystery.” (Susan Tietjen, reviewer)

 

GRAVEDIGGERS is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.

 

Author

Cindy M. Hogan graduated with a secondary education teaching degree and enjoys spending time with unpredictable teenagers. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. She loves to bake, garden, and hang out and play outdoors.

Cindy Hogan

Originally posted 2013-11-04 11:43:58.

“Monday Mystery” – THE GREENLAND BREACH

We’ve got a new thriller to announce from across the Atlantic, translated by the woman who brought us Les Miserables. Le French Book is releasing Bernard Besson’s cli-fi spy novel, THE GREENLAND BREACH, on October 30th.  It’s available on AmazoniTunes, and Nook, and should be up shortly on Kobo.

Have a look!

greenlandbreach_750x1200-187x300Synopsis

The Arctic ice caps are breaking up. Europe and the East Coast of the United States brace for a tidal wave. Meanwhile, former French intelligence officer John Spencer Larivière, his karate-trained, steamy Eurasian partner, Victoire, and their bisexual computer-genius sidekick, Luc, pick up an ordinary freelance assignment that quickly leads them into the glacial silence of the great north, where a merciless war is being waged for control of discoveries that will change the future of humanity.

Excerpt

(First published in French as The Greenland Breach, ©2011 Odile Jacob. English translation ©2013 Julie Rose. First published in English in 2013 by Le French Book, Inc., New York)

The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson and Julie Rose (translator)

SUNDAY

Greenland, the north face of Haffner Bjerg, 6:30 a.m.

Lars Jensen felt the ground tremble beneath the snow. He straightened up and abandoned his position, petrified by what he was seeing to the west, toward Canada. The last phase of global warming had begun just as a big red helicopter flew past from the east. It doubtless belonged to Terre Noire, the Franco-Danish oil-and-gas company that was carrying out geological surveys.

From the rocky slopes of Haffner Bjerg, events were taking an unimaginable turn worthy of Dante. With a sound as ominous as the crack of doom, the Lauge Koch Kyst had begun to tear away from Greenland and plummet into Baffin Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. A colossal breach a mile and a half deep was opening up in the middle of the island continent. The trench ran for miles, as if an invisible ax had just split the ice cap in two.

Terrified, Lars backed away, forgetting what he had come to the top of the world to do. He’d guessed that his presence on the slopes of Haffner Bjerg had something to do with the death of the Arctic. The advance wired from an anonymous account on the island of Jersey was every bit as incredible as the cataclysm under way.

A mist shot through with rainbows rose from the depths of the last ice age. Behind the iridescent wall, thousands of years of packed ice raked the granite surface and crashed into the sea, stirring up a gigantic tsunami. He pressed his hands to his ears to muffle the howling of Greenland as it began to die.

It took Lars awhile to get a grip. His hands were still shaking as the thunderous impact reached him. It was even more frightening than the ear-splitting sound. Greenland was plunging into Baffin Bay. In a few hours, the coasts of Canada and the United States would be flooded. He fell to his knees like a child, overcome by thoughts that had never before crossed his mind. An abyss was opening inside him, and it was just as frightening as the one in front of him. It wasn’t until his fitful breathing slowed and his lungs stopped burning that he was able to get back to the tawdry reality of his own situation.

He lay down again on the hardpacked snow. With his eye glued to the sight of his rifle, he found the trail that the dogsled had taken from the Great Wound of the Wild Dog. That’s where the team would emerge, heading for Josephine and the automated science base that sounded the great island’s sick heart. The Terre Noire geologists were known for their punctuality, but at two thousand euros an hour, he would wait if he had to. Say what you like, the end of the world was good business.

Paris, fourteenth arrondissement, 18 Rue Deparcieux, 11:30 a.m 

John Spencer Larivière put the phone down and shot Victoire a triumphant look. It was an expression she didn’t like.

“What’s got into you?” Victoire asked.

“North Land’s offering me a hundred thousand euros for a mission. I’ve got a meeting tomorrow with Abraham Harper’s wife, Geraldine.”

“Where?”

“She’ll let me know at the last minute.”

“What kind of a job?”

“She didn’t say.”

“She’s obviously going to ask you to investigate their European rivals, Terre Noire, Nicolas Lanier’s outfit. I don’t like it, John. Don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t forget you’re French. Remember where you come from.”

“Still, a hundred thousand euros…”

Victoire moved closer. Ever since John had set up his own business, he had agonized over not being able to measure up. They were in the red. She rarely saw him smile these days. She slipped her hand into his pants and confirmed what she’d already guessed. “That Canadian woman has an effect on you.”

“She does not.”

“Come here, you idiot.”

They had met working in the government intelligence agency Hubert de Méricourt directed. Victoire and John wanted to have a baby, which was why they had quit together to start Fermatown, their own strategic- and criminal-analysis company. As the daughter of a Cambodian Khmer Rouge survivor and a French diplomat, Victoire bore a heavy legacy. After a spectacular nervous breakdown and a period of uncompromising psychoanalysis, getting pregnant had become her obsession. She wanted a son who would look like his father, a good-looking hunk, five feet eleven, with irresistible blue eyes and the blond mane of a movie star. John was a real man with simple ideas, a gentle giant who could massage her feet while getting his Cambodian and Cantonese hopelessly mixed up.

They left the media room and stepped into the space they called the confessional, where they settled into the welcoming arms of the black sofa. Their clothes soon lay where Fermatown’s rare clients sat. John kneaded that supple body yet again and made Victoire’s cheeks glow. She opened her eyes wide and encouraged him with her dancer’s hips. They grabbed pleasure by the handful as though it were the last time. Or the first.

Putting aside their old wounds and disappointments, they made sweaty love, falling off the sofa and onto the teak floor. Now they were nothing more than two balls of rage. Watching as though he were outside himself, John pinned her delicate wrists to the floor and prepared his assault. Wildly, he thrust faster and faster, and, when the moment came, he grunted like an animal, shooting into this flesh that was torn, as he was, between two continents and two histories.

Out of breath, they slid next to each other. And then, holding hands and looking up at the ceiling, they started bickering again.

“With a hundred thousand euros, we could redo the kitchen and get new cars.”

“A hundred thousand euros and a bullet in the head. Don’t go there, John.”

“I’ll send Luc to Le Havre. That’s where Terre Noire has its lab. I saw something on television. They sent one of their ships to inspect the lava that spewed into the ocean the last time Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland. It wouldn’t hurt to find out more.”

“This is way beyond us. Everything about the North Pole reeks of ashes and disaster.”

“I want to go there.”

“You just want to prove to yourself that you can still stick your neck out and act like an idiot. You’re worried about what your former colleagues think—all those people we wanted to get away from.”

“I’m sick of sitting around reading CVs all day. I didn’t start Fermatown to fact-check biographies and trawl through social networks looking for witnesses.”

“Typical man. Too proud to ask the agency to pay us an hourly rate.”

“You’re starting to annoy me!”

John bounded to his feet and ran upstairs to the bathroom. Victoire was right, and that put him in a foul mood. Ever since Afghanistan, he had failed at everything. He couldn’t even get her pregnant. He punched the railing of the staircase to the third floor. He had inherited this rambling four-story duplex and garden from an aunt. The property was situated between the Rue Déparcieux and the Rue Fermat, just outside the village on the Rue Daguerre.

Author

Bernard Besson, who was born in Lyon, France, in 1949, is a former top-level chief of staff of the French intelligence services, an eminent specialist in economic intelligence and Honorary General Controller of the French National Police. He was involved in dismantling Soviet spy rings in France and Western Europe when the USSR fell and has real inside knowledge from his work auditing intelligence services and the police. He has also written a number of prize-winning thrillers, his first in 1998, and several works of nonfiction. He currently lives in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, right down the street from his heroes.

Besson_240_small-206x300Come back Wednesday for my interview with Bernard Besson!

Originally posted 2013-10-28 09:47:52.

“Monday Mystery” – POCKET FULL OF POSIES

PocketPosies_800I have another new release to announce, this time from Julie Coulter Bellon, and it’s available on Amazon. Here’s a quick look:

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer . . .

Hostage Negotiation Team member Bart Gutierrez is shocked to find Lucy Aguayo, a girl he knew as a teenager, working for the deadly Castillo drug cartel. This revelation uncovers a secret in Bart’s family so big it forces him to accept a dangerous offer: infiltrate the cartel to keep his family safe. Once inside the cartel’s headquarters he discovers that a large-scale attack on America is imminent and the only way to prevent it is to bring Lucy in on his plans—and hope she doesn’t betray him.

Synopsis

Detective Bart Gutierrez is surprised to see a woman from his past working for a drug cartel.  She isn’t the girl he remembers and he can’t understand what went so wrong that she’d resort to working for such a deadly organization. He ends up going undercover to infiltrate the cartel and hoping for a chance to convince her there’s a better life out there.  Can he do both without getting himself killed?

Lucy Aguayo has suffered the loss of her father at the hands of a cruel cartel leader. She will do anything to bring him down. When Bart enters her life again, he stirs up feelings and memories that make her question her life choices. Can she find justice for her father or should she work toward being free from her past? And where does Bart fit into this equation?

Excerpt

The pre-dawn air was still, as if even nature sensed the tension emanating from the group of agents and officers huddled near a police van. Bart Gutiérrez blew on his hands, the chill seeping through him. He felt keyed up, ready to get going with the high-risk arrest, but instead of doing anything productive, he was standing around impatiently while a bunch of suits took credit for staging the whole thing.

Special Response made sure everyone knew they’d scoped out the mission with high-resolution aerial photos. DEA put it out there that they’d confirmed the subject inside was, in fact, Arturo Pérez, second-in-command of the Castillo cartel. ICE and the Joint Terrorism Task Force piped in that they’d tracked him the minute his private plane had entered American air space. Only the FBI guys were silent. Bart decided he liked them. 

Author

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of nine international romantic suspense novels and her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for 2012 Best Suspense/Thriller. Julie loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news—which is where she gets her story ideas.

myauthorpic

Julie offers writing and publishing tips as well as her take on life on her blog ldswritermom.blogspot.com You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website juliebellon.com.

 

Originally posted 2013-10-21 06:00:05.

Jason Kills Off Cinderella’s Stepmother, Lady Tremaine

I haven’t posted a Jason update in a long while. To catch you all up, he’s finished all his Pathway courses . . . except the dreaded Math. He’ll be taking that one come January. In the meantime, he’s enjoying some freedom, and the only assignment he has these days is to learn how to make his own grilled cheese sandwiches. He’s halfway there and I’ll be posting about that next Friday, complete with pictures.

(Part of the reason we’re not pushing the driving, the math, or the mission right now is that we’re getting ready to list our house and looking into moving to Southern Utah. We want to downsize, be closer to both our families, and give Jason more opportunities to meet other LDS singles. But more about all of that in future posts.)

As I wrote on Monday, to help pass the time while driving down to Salt Lake City (and then on to St. George), I reviewed Agatha Christie’s writing methodology with Jason and proposed we give it a try. He agreed and so, first, we had to come up with a plausible victim who would have enemies.

JASON:  How about Lady Tremaine?

ME:  Who?

JASON:  You know, the stepmother from Disney’s “Cinderella?”

Lady Tremaine

ME:  Oh, yeah. Okay, she’ll do. Now we need to come up with the murder method.

He thought about that for a minute and shrugged. So I prodded his recollection of her fondness for shopping.

ME:  We could kill her off during a shopping trip in town.

JASON:  Huh? How?

ME:  Let’s see . . . since Agatha Christie was into poison, let’s come up with a really sneaky way to poison her while shopping.

JASON:  (No response)

ME:  Okay, how about this? . . . The killer applies an odorless poison to a dress Lady Tremaine has admired before, counting on the fact that she’ll likely try it on. Once she does, the toxic concoction seeps into her skin and 2-3 days later, she’s dead.

JASON:  Cool!

Now that we had the victim and the method all set, we had to determine the killer.

JASON:  It can’t be Cinderella and it can’t be the Prince. That would just be wrong.

Cinderella and the prince

ME:  Okay, who else wouldn’t like Lady Tremaine? Who else would have a motive and yet probably be overlooked by the reader?

JASON:  Maybe Anastasia would work.

ME:  Who?

JASON:  You know, the younger daughter. The one who was sort of kind to Cinderella . . . at least in the sequels.

Anastasia

ME:  That’s good. People probably wouldn’t suspect her because of that. But what would her motive be? Doesn’t she like her mother?

JASON:  Well, in the sequels, we find out that she doesn’t really like her mother’s iron grip on her life and that she just wants to be free to marry for love, not money. So that could be her motive.

ME:  Perfect! Now we need to figure out the motives for all the rest of the characters (not including the animals).

JASON:  Okay. Drizella, the eldest daughter, could have done it because she wants to inherit the family fortune sooner rather than later after her mother dies naturally.

Drizella

ME:  (Nodding) Good. Go on.

JASON:  Who else is there?

ME:  How about the dress shopkeeper? That’s where the murder takes place. Wouldn’t she naturally be a suspect?

JASON:  I guess, but what would her motive be?

ME:  I know. She could have done it because Lady Tremaine hasn’t been paying her bills on time and the woman is about to lose her shop.

JASON:  Hmm . . . that will do.

Finally, we needed to come up with the right detective to ferret out all the clues, with the help of Cinderella and the Prince, of course. Thinking back on the movie, that left only one possibility. It was apparent to me, but I had to bring Jason around to the realization.

ME:  Okay, Jason, who was the one in the film who went all over the countryside asking questions?

JASON:  Huh?

ME:  You know, he had a glass slipper and . . .

JASON:  Oh, you mean the Grand Duke?

grand duke 2

ME:  Exactly. Even though he’s kind of a bumbling fool, he’s the perfect type to put people off their guard while secretly he’s observing their behavior and asking all kinds of innocent questions.

JASON:  You mean his clumsiness is just an act?

ME:  Precisely. Now all we have to do is sit down and plot it out.

Et voilá. An Agatha Christie-styled murder mystery. Anyone want to write it? (We won’t for fear of being sued by Disney. Although perhaps Jason might give it a go as a piece of fan fiction. I’ll let you know if he does, but I can’t promise to post it here. He keeps his fan fiction private.)

In any case, it was a fun exercise and took a good bit longer in the car than it took you to read about it here. By the way, Jason helped create this post, so give him half the credit, okay?

Originally posted 2013-08-23 06:00:17.

“Monday Mystery” – À la Christie

Agatha Christie

Long considered the maven of murder, Dame Agatha Christie had a certain formula she followed in the beginning of her career as a mystery novelist. I know because I recently watched a PBS show about her in the series “Extraordinary Women” (see the YouTube clip below) and then followed up by checking a few websites dedicated to her work, including this one.

First came the murder itself. She would begin by determining the method, victim and perpetrator. Having worked as a nurse during WWI, she had become very familiar with toxic substances and so poison was a particular favorite of hers when it came to method.

After visualizing and jotting down the essentials of the crime, she would turn her attention to the perpetrator’s true motive. She felt that it needed to be such a transparent motive that the reader would easily cast it aside as “too obvious.”

Next, she developed the rest of the cast of suspects, never too large and their lives often interwoven in unusual ways. Each was assigned a plausible motive in order to further confuse the reader, as well as secrets they were hiding about themselves.

Finally, she’d outline a plot that included necessary clues and red herrings (though not so many as to overly complicate the story). Stir in the right detective to ferret out the truth, such as Hercule Poirot in her first book, THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES, and voila! A compelling page-turner of a mystery is born.

Mysterious_affair_at_stylesSo why am I reviewing Dame Christie’s method here? Because I want you all to understand that we put it to the test during my recent road trip to Utah. By “we,” I mean my son, Jason, and I. After all, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about during our 10-hour drive south to Salt Lake City so we decided to make up a mystery à la Christie.

We only talked it through but if you check back here on Friday, we’ll share what we came up with.

Originally posted 2013-08-19 06:00:43.